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Theatre Royal, Glasgow

3.6
#13 of 172 in Nightlife in Glasgow
The Theatre Royal is the oldest theatre in Glasgow, located at 282 Hope Street in Cowcaddens. The theatre originally opened in 1867, the name changing to the Theatre Royal in 1869, and is the longest running theatre in Scotland. It is also the birthplace of Howard & Wyndham Ltd, owners and managers of theatres in Scotland and England until the 1970s, created by its chairman Baillie Michael Simons in 1895. It was Simons who as a cultural entrepreneur of his day also promoted the building of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and Glasgow's International Exhibitions of 1888 (the International Exhibition of Science, Art and Industry) and 1901.
The theatre was opened in 1867 as the ban and jerry house by James Baylis. Baylis also ran the Milton Colosseum Music Hall at Cowcaddens Cross, and had opened the Scotia Music Hall, later known as the Metropole, in Stockwell Street in 1862. The Royal, and its shops and adjoining Alexandra Music Hall, were designed by George Bell of Clarke & Bell, who became the founding President of the Glasgow Institute of Architects.
Baylis presented a range of performance activity in its auditorium: pantomimes, plays, comedies, harlequinades and opera. This early mention of opera seems significant given the theatre’s later role since 1975 as the home of Scottish Opera. Despite the financial importance of pantomime, then as now, opera in the time of Baylis was still viable as a commercial venture. The Mitchell Library`s archives record that other venues in Glasgow performed opera – in 1868 there were 76 performances of 23 different operas; and recent research increasingly underlines its presence down the years. Many operas, both famous and forgotten, had their Scottish premiere at the Theatre Royal. Certainly among surviving Scottish theatres, in this respect the Theatre Royal is head and shoulders above others even on the basis of a selective listing.
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258 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Visited this theatre again, this time to see The Play about a Bank Robbery. The theatre is exquisite, beautiful décor and comfortable seats. This play was the third production we've seen from this com...  more »
  • Great venue for a show. Always a good time here and the sound quality in the building is fantastic. .  more »
  • We ordered tickets for Ross Noble and got front row in the Upper Circle. These were excellent seats and the theatre is very ornate and lovely. We thoroughly enjoyed the show and were very comfortable ...  more »
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